Behavioral Interventions

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Volume 8 Issue 1 (January 1993), Pages 1-66

A descriptive analysis of client outcomes associated with staff interventions in developmental disabilities (pages 29-43)


Although a large body of research supports the use of behavioral staff management interventions in developmental disabilities, the nature of client outcomes associated with such interventions has not been systematically assessed. We reviewed 59 staff management studies published over 20 years (1971–1990) in order to determine the generality or scope of the research (i. e., range of settings, types and levels of clients' disabilities, clients' ages), the frequency of inclusion of client outcome measures, the types of measures and levels of analysis selected (i. e., individual groups, combination), and the effects of the interventions on client behavior. Results indicated that: (a) over two‐third of the studies were conducted in institutional settings; (b) more than one‐half involved clients with profound to severe mental retardation; (c) clients of various ages were served; (d) assessment of client outcomes increased progressively over the period; (e) engagement and skill acquisition were the most frequently used measures; (f) group data were presented twice as frequently as either individual or a combination of group and individual data; and (g) staff interventions were associated with either positive or mixed client outcomes in 80% or more of the cases, although maladaptive behavior went unchanged in one‐fifth of the studies in which they were reported. Based on these findings, suggestions are made for how researchers might extend the generality of staff management research, improve client outcome assessment practices, and produce even more consistently positive results.

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